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The Huaorani, Waorani or Waodani, also known as the Waos, are native Amerindians from the Amazonian Region of Ecuador (Napo and Pastaza Provinces) who have marked differences from other ethnic groups from Ecuador. They comprise almost 4,000 inhabitants and speak the Huaorani language, a linguistic isolate, i.e. unrelated to any other language. Their ancestral lands are located between the Curaray and Napo rivers, about 50 miles south of El Coca. These homelands approximately 120 miles wide and 75 to 100 miles from north to south are threatened by oil exploration and illegal logging practices. In the past, Huaorani were able to aggressively protect their culture and lands from both indigenous enemies and settlers, missionaries, etc.

The name Waodani (or the alternative English spelling Waorani) represents a transliteration by English-speaking missionary linguists. The phonetic equivalent used by Spanish-speakers is Huaorani (reflecting the absence of w in Spanish spelling.) The sounds represented by the English and Spanish letters d, r and n are allophones in Wao Tededo.

In traditional animist Waodani worldview, there is no distinction between the physical and spiritual worlds, and spirits are present throughout the world. The Waodani once believed that the entire world was a forest . The Orientes rainforest remains the essential basis of their physical and cultural survival. For them, the forest is home, while the outside world is considered unsafe: living in the forest offered protection from the witchcraft and attacks of neighboring peoples. In short, as one Huaorani put it, The rivers and trees are our life. In all its specificities, the forest is woven into each Huaoranis life and conceptions of the world. They have remarkably detailed knowledge of its geography and ecology.

Related websites

A film about the missionaries who were killed by the orangemo.

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This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article Huaorani

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